What is the Difference Between a Dentist and a Cosmetic Dentist?

20 Aug 2021 by  admin in General Dentistry Resources

Regular dentists and cosmetic dentists have different focuses when it comes to helping their patients, making each one better suited to specific patient needs than the other.

What Do Regular Dentists Do?

Regular dentists, or general dentists, focus on treating and preventing issues associated with discomfort or health. The most common preventative treatments they’ll perform can include routine exams and cleanings, as well as screening for oral cancer and fitting mouthguards.

They also perform restorative treatments that fix or ease issues such as fillings, extractions, root canals, gingivitis, and gum disease. Many dentists also do tooth whitening procedures.

What Do Cosmetic Dentists Do?

On the other hand, cosmetic dentists are more focused on the appearance of teeth and how they play into a patient’s general appearance. As such, they primarily offer services like:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Onlays and inlays
  • Bonding
  • Veneers
  • Implants
  • Dentures

While cosmetic dentistry is not an officially recognized specialty, they undergo specific and extensive training to be adept at smile design. In many ways, cosmetic dentistry is both a science and an art. It takes a certain skill to not only safely help patients but also to visualize and create solutions for various cosmetic oral issues.

There Is Some Overlap

While dentists and cosmetic dentists are different, there can be some overlap in the services they offer depending on the goal of that service. For example, tooth bonding is technically a cosmetic procedure, but the same process is also used to fill cavities or repair a damaged tooth. Similarly, dentures do help with appearance as they fill the gaps in a smile, but they also help keep the mouth healthy by assisting with chewing, biting, and speaking. This distinction is important to note because whether or not a procedure is considered medically necessary may impact whether it is covered by insurance.

Should You See a Dentist or a Cosmetic Dentist?

If you’re experiencing problems with your mouth or smile, which dentist should you see? Both types of dentists will have either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, so you really can’t go wrong. Most patients start by going to a regular dentist to get a general idea of the problem and discuss possible solutions. If necessary, the dentist will refer the patient to a cosmetic dentist.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Long Island

If you’re looking to improve your smile, Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry is here to help. Our team is dedicated to helping patients reclaim their confidence through a beautiful smile. Call a cosmetic dentist in Huntington, Long Island, today to schedule a one-on-one consultation.


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Contact our South Huntington Office (631.423.6563) today.
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